Places to Stay in Cesme, Cesme Hotels and Pension
Although Çeşme has several inexpensive pensions and hotels, several moderately priced hotels, and a restored caravanserai, most charge over the odds; and many lodg-ings are booked solid in the summer season. Check the package holiday brochures if you're after a longer stay.
Places to Stay – Budget
There are several good pensions in the midst of the action just off Inkilap Caddesi. The unmissable pink and black Teras Pansiyon (232-712 7463), on Ertürk Sokak near the church, is clean and relatively quiet, with shower-equipped rooms above a restaurant a single/double. Some signs stili call it the Birlik.
On the opposite side of Inkilap in a narrow İane of crumbling old houses, Burcu Pansiyon (232-712 0387) has a fine terrace and good shower-equipped rooms for slight-ly less, as does the nearby U-2 Pansiyon (232-712 6381).
Tarhan Pansiyon (it 232-712 6061), behind the Çeşme Kervansaray Hotel, a single/double for rooms in a pretty house draped with bougainvillea. Tani Pansiyon next door is similar.
Cesme Hotels - Places to Stay - Mid-Range
Right on the shore, facing the main square, the two-star Hotel Ertan (232-712 6795, fax 712 7852, Cumhuriyet Meydanı 12) has a lift, open-air terrace bar, air-con restaurant and 60 rather ordinary guest rooms with bath, some facing the sea. Rates are US$70/90 a single/double, breakfast included.
Next door to the Ertan, the newer 36-room Rıdvan Oteli (232-712 6336, fax 712 7627) charges the same for rooms with similar facilities, but usually with balconies. The lobby is decorated with works by local photographer Çavit Kürnek.
Just north of the Ertan and Rıdvan near the water, Çeşme Marin Otel (232-712 7579, fax 712 6484, Hürriyet Caddesi 10) offers even better value, with shower-equipped rooms a single/double with breakfast included, but the staff are in need of cheering up.
Parla Apart Otel 252-7/2 6366, Musalla Mahallesi, Kabadayı Sokak 27), run by an energetic woman named Çiğdem, rents clean, modern double rooms and small apartments (lounge, bed-room, kitchen and bath) - great value. The cheaper Vural Pansiyon, just behind the Tarhan Pansiyon, is under the same competent management.
Yalçın Otel (232-712 6981, fax 712 0623, Musalla Mahallesi, Kale Sokak 38) is perched on the hillside overlooking the town. Its 16 pleasant rooms, all with private shovvers, some with excellent views,
HotelPapageno (n 232-712 8327, fax 712 0105, 16 Eylül Mahallesi, 1 Yalı Sokak 11) is clean, modern, comfortable, and decently priced at US$30/50 a single/double wifh shovver, breakfast included. One reader com-plained of noise from the market outside.
The historic Çeşme Kervansaray Hotel (232-712 7177, fax 712 6491), just south of the main square, was restored a decade ago and even more work was undenvay at the time of writing. The posted price of US$100, for a pleasantly furnished double room with tiny bathroom, has been known to halve when it's quiet. Turkish Night shows are held at least twice a week when you should go elsewhere or be kept awake by the racket.
Places to Eat
Çeşme's restaurants are ali reasonably cheap, but of varying standards. Virtually ali restaurants post their prices prominently. For a local taste treat, try the sakızlı dondurma (sah-kuhz-LUH dohn-door-mah), ice cream flavoured with pine resin, the same stuff they put in Greek retsina vvine. If you like retsina, you should like this weird reincarnation of the flavour.
Behind the old church are numerous small eateries, including Özen Pide & Pizza, which serves grills and Turkish pizza, also the speciality of Fatih Pide Pizza Salonu next door. Both places have outdoor tables by the church.
On inkilap Caddesi, Lezzet Aş Evi (Flavour Cook-House) is stili hanging on as one of the cheapest eateries in town, with veg-etable plates, and salçalı köfte (meatballs)
Nearby, Nil Patisserie serves excellent baklava (pastry with nuts and honey) and lokum (Turkish delight), and has a few streetside cafe tables. Rumeli Pastanesi on İnkilap specialises in the local reçel (jellies and preserves), which include patlıcan (aubergine), turunç (bitter orange), incir (fig), limon çiçeği (lemon-flower), sakız (pine gum - unusual white jam), ayva (qu-ince), gül (rose) and karpuz (vvatermelon).
Sevim Cafe, in front of the Kervansaray, has outdoor tables which suffer a bit from traffic noise, but it's a good place for a sunset drink.
Chinese restaurants have been popping up in Turkish coastal resorts. The cuisine may not be authentic but it makes for a pleasant change. The Mandarin Chinese Restaurant, in front of the Çeşme Marin Otel,
The Castle Restaurant & Bar (232-712 8339), in a tower of the fortress, is a romantic place to watch the sunset, espe-cially on your last Turkish night before catching the ferry bound for Greece. A full dinner will cost you between US$20 to US$35 but it's only open from late May to September.
Cetting There & Away
Bus The opening of the Çeşme-Izmir otoyol (expressway) has made it harder to get to Çeşme vvithout transitting İzmir. If you're coming from Selçuk or Kuşadası, don't think you can avoid izmir by taking a bus to Urla - there's no longer any onward public transport from Urla to Çeşme.
This is a drag because the bus to Çeşme doesn't leave from İzmir otogar. You'll have to come into the otogar, and then catch a bus across town to the separate terminal for Çeşme in Üçkuyular, a neighbourhood 6km west of Konak. This can add a good hour to the journey time (see Bus under Getting There & Away in the izmir section).
Once you've got to the Çeşme terminal it's simple. Çeşme Turizm buses and minibuses make the 85-km, 114-hour run every 15 minutes or so from 6 am to 6 pm, stopping at Ilıca and Alaçatı on the way.
If you buy an onvvard ticket from Çeşme to Ankara or istanbul, your bus vvill stili stop in izmir en route.
Ferry - Chios
Most people come to Çeşme on their way to or from Chios.
in high summer (1 July to 10 September) there are daily boats; the Monday boat con-nects at Chios with a boat for Piraeus, arriving in time to connect with a boat to Israel.
At other times of the year the schedule is:
16 to 30 April and throughout October, boats run Tuesday and Thursday.
I to 15 May boats run Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
16 May to 30 June boats run Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.11 to 30 September boats run on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Çeşme, Things to See & Do
Çeşme's caravanserai was built in 1528, during the reign of Süleyman the Magnifi-cent, but has been restored and converted into the Kervansaray Hotel, with limited success. It's worth taking a look around.
On Inkilap Caddesi is the ruined orthodox church of Ayios Haralambos, sometimes used for shows and exhibitions.
in the evening the people of Çeşme stili observe the old Mediterranean custom of piyasa vakti ('plaza time'): dressing up and coming down to the main square for a stroll, a glass of tea, a bit of conversation and some people-watching. The men, some with their wives, then linger in the seaside restaurants and teahouses.
Vessels moored along Çeşme's vvaterfront make day excursions up and down the coast, stopping at good swimming spots.
Çeşme has a hamam, just past the Kervansaray Hotel. However, it charges a ridiculous US$40 for a wash and massage and an even more exorbitant US$60 if you want an oil massage tagged on.
Dalyan, 4km north of Çeşme, is a fishing village on a fine natural harbour (but no beach), with some reasonable seafood restaurants.
The unimpressive ruins of ancient Erythrae, famed for its cult temples of Cybele and Hercules, are within and around the modern village of İldir, 27km north of Çeşme. A few small fish restaurants provide sustenance.
The best beaches are at Boyalık, 1.5km east of Çeşme's main square, and Ilıca, 6km east. Both beaches are heavily developed with hotels, but are stili good for a swim in the sun. Alternatively, Altınkum consists of a se-ries of coves 9km to the south-west beyond the town of Çiftlik, reached by dolmuşes which depart from behind Çeşme's Tourism Information Office. There are simple restaurants and camping grounds here, as well as some rental equipment for water sports.
If you think Çeşme is becoming too package-tourist orientated like Side, you could move out to Alaçatı, 9km to the south-east. A well-preserved village of old stone houses populated by Ottoman Greeks a century ago, Alaçatı is backed by three windmills and equipped with a few small restaurants, pen-sions and hotels. The nearest beach is 4km away, but, like many other spots along this coast, it's famed for its windsurfing. Alaçatı Sörf Cenneti (Surf Paradise) in the Çark Mevkii district rents sailboards, bicycles, mopeds and camp sites. Dolmuşes run from Ilıca to Alaçatı, a distance less than 4km.
Çeşme, Cesme Hotel and Tourism İnformation
Çeşme (CHESH-meh; population 100,000), 85km due west of tzmir, means 'fountain' or 'spring'. From the town, it's only about lOkm across the water to the Greek island of Chios and the ferries to Greece are the main reason people come here. However, the fast-growing resort area encircling the town is popular with weekend-trippers from izmir.
Çeşme itself is a pleasant seaside town, and the land to the east of it is rolling steppe, a foretaste of Anatolia. This barrenness subsides as you approach tzmir, giving way to wheat fıelds, lush orchards, olive groves and tobacco fields. About 23km east of Çeşme is the pretty Uzunkuyu Piknik Yeri, a roadside picnic area in a pine forest. About 50km east of Çeşme you pass the official city limits of İzmir, a full 30km west of Konak Meydanı.
Çeşme is right on the coast. Ilıca, a seaside resort town 6km to the east, has numerous hotels in ali price ranges. There are frequent dolmuşes running between Ilıca and Çeşme and buses from izmir cali in there fırst - but unless you want to spend ali your time at the beach you're better off staying in Çeşme proper.
Çeşme's otogar is less than l km south of the main square Cumhuriyet Meydanı al-though you can pick up a bus to izmir from immediately west of the monument at the western end of Inkilap Caddesi. Everything you need is near the main square on the water-front, with its inevitable statue of Atatürk. The Tourism Information Office, Customs House (Gümrük), ferry ticket offices, bus ticket offıces, restaurants and hotels are all within two blocks.
Tourism (Tourist) Information in Çeşme
The Tourism Information Office (fax 232-712 6653) is down by the dock at iskele Meydanı 6.
You can change money at Bamka Döviz (232-712 0853), Inkilap Caddesi 80.
The annual Çeşme Film Festival is held during the third week of August.
The postal code is 35930.
Çeşme Castle and Museum
The huge Genoese fortress dominating the centre of town was repaired by Sultan Beyazıt, son of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, to defend the coast from attack by pirates and by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem based on Rhodes. it is now the Çeşme Kalesi ve Müzesi (Çeşme Fortress & Museum), which is open every day from 8.30 am to noon and from 1 to 5 pm. The entrance is up
the hill by the steps more or less opposite the Tourism Information Office.
Most of the castle's interior is empty, with the exception of the north tower, which displays local archaeological finds, many re-lating to Çeşme's markime history, others from nearby Erythrae. You can climb up on the battlements for a good look around. One of the towers houses the summer-only Castle Restaurant (see Places to Eat in this section).
Facing the main square, with its back to the fortress, is a statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa (1714-90), together with a lion which symbolises his temperament. As a boy he was captured in a battle on the Iranian border, sold into slavery by the Ottoman army and bought by a Turkish tradesman who raised him with his own sons. Having joined the Janissaries at the age of 25, he began a brilliant military, naval and political career which included fıerce battles with the Russian fleet off Çeşme. He retired an ex-tremely wealthy man, having served as the sultan's grand vizier and having built public monuments, fountains and mosques on Lesbos, Lemnos, Chios, Kos and Rhodes (all Ottoman possessions at the time).
About 3km south of Milas you come to an intersection. Go right for Bodrum, left for Ören, Muğla and Marmaris. Turn left and there's a road on the right marked for Ören, where the road ends after 50km at the Gulf of Gökova.
Just over l km along the Ören road, a road on the right is marked with a black-on-yellow sign for Beçin, a Byzantine fortress on a rocky outcrop which was later pressed into service by the Turkish emirs of Menteşe. It's open from 8 am to dusk (US$1), but there's not a lot to see inside. Less than 500m on are remnants of the 14th century Menteşe settlement, including the Kızıl Han caravanserai, Orhan Bey Camii, and the Ahmet Gazi tomb and medrese (theological seminary).
The road to Ören is slow and winding and for the most part picturesque, although there are a couple of unsightly power stations and, closer to the village, some proliferating second-home developments.
On the whole Ören has hung on to the tranquil atmosphere which was once com-mon to villages along the Turkish coasts. The village comes in two parts. About 1.5km inland from the beach is the centre, with its PTT, shops, and old Ottoman houses with geranium-filled gardens set amid the ruins of the ancient city of Keramos (or Ceramus), which flourished from the 6th century BC until at least the 3rd century AD.
But the 1 km-long sand-and-pebble beach ringed with mountains is the centre of visitor interest and draws Turkish holidaymakers from the big cities who come for stays of a week, two weeks or more. If you take the time to travel the 50km to the village, you too will want to linger more than a night.
Places to Stay & Eat, Ören Hotel
Although the number of pensions is steadi-ly increasing, so far it's ali fairly low-key, with not a high-rise on the horizon. If you plan to stay in high summer, come early in the morning to find a room, or cali ahead and reserve one.
Among cheap lodgings, try Karya Oteli (n 252-532 2115), Otel Göksu 252-532 2112 or Hotel Marçalı (252-532 2063), with double rooms for US$30. Ytltur Motel (252-532 2108), at the eastern end of the beach by the harbour, is a bit cheaper but simpler. If ali these are full, new places are opening ali the time. A bit of asking around should turn up something.
For more comfort there's Hotel Salihağa 252-532 2138), Hotel Haluk (252-532 2128) or Keramos Motel 252-532 2065), which also has a camping ground. Best of the lot in terms of comfort is the new three-star, 50 room Hotel Alnata (252-532 2823), at the western end of the beach, where cheerful modern rooms come with marble floors, marble bath tubs and sea views.
Ören also has a few restaurants, including the waterfront Cafe Palmiye which dishes up burgers for US$3 and Kerme Restaurant with şiş kebap for US$6. There's also a small shop for putting to-gether a picnic. Don't expect any banks or other services though.
Getting There & Away
A timetabled minibüs service runs from Milas to Ören and back roughly every hour from 8 am to 6 pm. If you ask, the driver may drop you right at the beach instead of in the village. The journey takes an hour and costs US$1.50.
Milas (MEE-lahs,) is a very old town. As Mylasa, it was capital of the Kingdom of Caria, except during the period when Mausolus ruled the kingdom from Halicarnassus (now Bodrum). Today
it's a fairly sleepy agricultural town, with many homes where carpets are handwoven. Since Milas is actually closer to the new Bodrum international airport than Bodrum itself, you could stay the night in Milas if you arrive late in high season when Bodrum is likely to be full.
Approaching Milas from Söke, you pass the new otogar on 19 Mayıs Bulvan lkm before coming to Labranda Bulvan to the left. To the right inönü Caddesi is marked for 'Şehir Merkezi' (City Centre). It's another l km to the centre of town at the Milas Belediye Parkı.
Milas' postal code is 48200.
Things to See
Coming into town from the otogar along inönü Caddesi, watch for signs pointing to the right for the Belediye and, opposite, turn left for the Baltalı Kapı, or 'Gate with an Axe'. Cross a small bridge and look left to see the well-preserved Roman gate, which has marble posts and lintel and Corinthian capitals. The eponymous double-headed axe is carved into the keystone on the northern side.
Return to the road and continue south past the forgettable museum, bearing right to the traffic roundabout, in the centre of which is a marble scale model of the Gümüşkesen monumental tomb next to the shady Milas Belediye Parkı.
Continue straight on for three blocks, turn right, then turn again at Gümüşkesen Caddesi to reach the tomb, 1.4km from the roundabout on a hill west of the centre.
The Gümüşkesen ('That which cuts silver' or, construed as Gümüşkese, 'silver purse') is a Roman monumental tomb dating from the İst century, thought to have been modelled on the great Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus. As in the Mausoleum, Corinthian columns here support a pyramidal roof, beneath which is a tomb chamber, which you can enter. A hole in the platform floor allovved devotees to pour libations into the tomb to quench the dead soul's thirst.
You might also want to see some of Milas fine mosques, especially the Ulu Cami (1378) and Orhan Bey Camii (1330), built when Milas was the capital of the Turkish principality of Menteşe. The larger, more impressive Firuz Bey Camii (1394) was built shortly after Menteşe became part of the new and growing Ottoman Empire.
Like Muğla, Milas has held on to some of its older houses, and especially along Atatürk Bulvarı is some very impressive architecture dating back to the start of this century.
Places to Stay, Milas Hotels
Otel Arıcan (252-512 1215), next to the Hacı İlyas Camii (and, alas, its minaret)
Akdeniz (252-512 8661), across the street, is a distant second choice. The Yeni Hamamı, across Hacı tlyas Sokak from the Otel Ancan, fills the need for a Turkish bath.
A better option is Hotel Çınar (fax 252-512 2102, Kadıağa Caddesi 52), which offers much more congenial accommodation, with a lobby one flight up. Take a room at the back to avoid street noise
The plastic-looking Otel Sürücü (252-512 4001, fax 512 4000), on Atatürk Bulvarı opposite the statue of Atatürk, is slightly more comfortable, with bigger rooms than the Çınar or Turan
Places to Eat
The town's culinary offerings don't run much beyond pide. The market area has several pidecis where a pide and soft drink sell for US$2, including the locally es-teemed Pamukkale Pide Salonu. Otel Ancan has its own Arıcan Bolu Lokantası with soups, stews and kebaps. Beyaz Saray Pastahanesi overlooking the main junction looks promising but seems surprised to see foreign visitors. Eat early (before 7 pm), as these few places don't stay open late.
Söke, Milas, Euromos Turkey
About 15km past Bafa Lake and 1 km south of the village of Selimiye, keep your eyes open for the picturesque Temple of Zeus, on the left-hand (eastern) side of the road in the midst of the ancient city of Euromos. Of the town, only the temple and a few scattered ruins now remain. The Corinthian columns set in an olive grove seem too good to be true, like a Hollywood set of a classical scene.
First settled in the 6th century BC, Euromos held a sanctuary to a local deity. With the coming of Greek, then Roman, culture, the local god's place was taken by Zeus. Euromos reached the height of its prosperity betvveen 200 BC and 200 AD. Emperor Hadrian (117-38 AD), who built so many monuments in Anatolia, is thought to have built this one as well. The several unfluted columns which remain suggest that the work was never finished.
If you're interested in ruins, you can clamber up the slopes to find other bits of the town. Look up behind the ticket booth at the big stone fortification wall on the hill-side. Climb up through the olive groves, go over the wall, and continue at the same alti-tude (the path dips a bit, which is OK, but don't climb higher). After 100 m you'll cross another stone wall and find yourself on flat ground which was the stage of the ancient theatre. It's badly ruined now, with olive trees growing among the few remaining rows of seats. Besides the theatre, the town's agora is down by the highvvay, with only a few toppled column drums to mark it.
The site is open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm (7 pm in summer) for US$3. There are no services except soft drinks sales in summer only. To get here, take a bus or dolmuş between Söke and Milas and ask to get out at the ruins. Alternatively, take a dolmuş from Milas to Iasos, get out at the road junc-tion for Iasos and walk the short distance north along the highway until you see the Euromos ruins on the right.
Milas is about 12km south of Euromos, but before you arrive there you could divert to visit Iasos and Labranda.
About 4km south-east of Euromos (8km north-west of Milas) is a road on the right (west) marked for Kıyıkışlacık (Iasos), about 18km along a twisting road. The Turkish name means 'Little Barracks on the Coast', but Iasos was in fact a fine city set on its dramatic perch several centuries before Christ. Earliest settlement may date from the Old Bronze Age, and may have in-cluded a civilisation much like the Minoan one on Crete.
Today Iasos is a sleepy Aegean fıshing village set amid the tumbled ruins of an ancient city. As you approach it, past a cluster of visually unfortunate, half-built concrete villas, the road forks. The right fork leads to the Balıkpazarı Iasos Müzesi holding the village's most interesting ruin, a monumental Roman tomb; the left fork leads to the port, up över the hill and along the coast.
Iasos was built on a hill at the tip of a peninsula framed by two picture-perfect bay s. Excavations have revealed the city's bouleuterion and agora, a gymnasium, a basilica, a Roman temple of Artemis Astias (190 AD) and numerous other buildings besides the prominent Byzantine fortress.
Today the hill above the port is covered with ruins, including a walled acropolis-fortress (admission costs US$1 if there's anyone there to collect it). Olive groves sur-round the town, somehow taking purchase in the rocky soil, and reach nearly to its centre. South-west of the hill on the bay is a small yacht harbour. Fishing boats crowd the quay, and a handful of small pensions and restau-rants cater to travellers who want to get away from it ali for a few days. Have çipura (gilt head bream), if it's in season, at Iasos Deniz Restaurant, right down on the water, or at the less interesting Yıldız, behind it.
Climb the hill behind the restaurants to find the delightful Cengiz 252-537 7181) and Zeytin 252-537 7008) pensions, both clean and modern with simple rooms for US$50 a double, including breakfast. Their biggest pluses are the views down over Iasos to the sea. in the unlikely event that both these places are full, others were about to open at the time of writing. There were even rumours that the half-built concrete mon-strosities on the outskirts would soon be completed. Don't hold your breath.
Labranda - corinthia labranda
Labranda was a sanctuary to Zeus Stratius, controlled for a long time by Milas. There may have been an oracle here; it's certain-ly known that festivals and Olympic games were held at the site. Set into a steep hillside at 600m elevation in an area from which the ancient city of Mylasa and the modern town of Milas took their water supplies, Labranda today is surrounded by fragrant pine forests peopled by beekeepers. Late in the season (October) you can see their tents
pitched in cool groves as they go about their business of extracting the honey and ren-dering the wax from the honeycombs. It's a beautiful site, worth seeing partly because so few peopie come here.
The junction for the road to Labranda is 12km south of Euromos, just before Milas. It's 14km to the site: the first 6km are paved and easy to travel on, the remaining 8km are along a rough but scenic road deep in dust which winds tortuously up into the moun-tains. in rainy weather (October to April) the road turns to a slurry of mud that may require a 4WD. The village of Kargıcak is 8km along the way, and though you may be able to get a dolmuş from Milas to Kargıcak, that stili leaves 6km to walk. Hitching is possible but not at all reliable, particularly later in the day.
Labranda was a holy place, not a settle-ment, where worship of a god was going on by the 7th century BC, and perhaps long before. The site seems to have been aban-doned circa 1000 AD. Today a caretaker will welcome you, have you sign the guest book and show you around the site; he speaks only Turkish, with a few words of other languages, but the site is well marked.
The great Temple of Zeus honours the god's warlike aspect (Stratius, or Labrayn-dus, 'Axe-bearing'). Two men's religious gathering places, the First Andron and the Second Andron, are in surprisingly good condition, as is a large 4th century tomb of fine construction, and other buildings. The nıins, excavated by a Swedish team in the early part of this century, are interesting, but it's the site itself, with its spectacular view over the valley, which is most impressive.
Söke to Milas Turkey - Things to See
As you enter the village in summer, you may be asked to pay an admis sion fee of US$ 4. Bear right at the ticket booth, pass the Pelikan Restaurant, and you'll come to the Agora Restaurant. Park here and explore on foot.
A path behind the car park leads westward up to the Temple of Athena, on a promon-tory overlooking the lake. Also from the car park, paths lead eastward to the agora, the bouleuterion and then several hundred metres through stone-walled pastures and across a valley to the unrestored theatre. The badly ruined theatre is oddly sited, with no spectacular view. Its most interesting feature is the several rows of seats and flights of steps cut into the rock. You will also see many remnants of the city vvalls dating from 300 BC.
Much of the fun of a visit to Latmos is to observe Turkish village life. Beehives dot the fields, and camomile flowers (papatya) grow wild by the roadsides in spring and summer. During the day vvomen sit by the road, making lace which they then attempt to seli to passers-by. in the evenings villagers herd their animals along the main street.
When you're finished in the village, follow the road down to the lake, past the Endymion Temple built partly into the rock, the ruins of a Byzantine castle and the city's necropolis.
Down at the lakeside, near the ruins of a Byzantine church, are several small restau-rants for fısh (if they' ve caught any that day), including the Zeybek, Kaya and Selene. All offer camping and boat tours of the lake.
There's a small beach of white coarse sand. Just offshore is an 'island' which may be reached from the shore on foot as the level of the lake sometimes falls. Around its base are foundations of ancient buildings.
Places to Stay & Eat
Of the several pen-sions in the village the best is certainly the 14 room Agora Pansiyon (fax 252-543 5445),The pension and its restaurant are surrounded by flowers, and the owners have lots of information available for lovers of ruins or birds.
Söke to Milas, Söke Turkey
The 86km ride from Söke, near Selçuk and Kuşadası, to Milas takes only 1/4 hours if you go nonstop, but so many interesting detours are possible that it may take you several days.
About 29km south of Söke there is a road on the right for Akköy (7km), Miletus and Didyma, described above. Soon aftenvards, the highway skirts the southern shore of the huge Bafa Gölü (Bafa Lake). This was once a gulf of the Aegean Sea, but became a lake as the sea retreated. About 13km beyond the Akköy turn-off are several restaurants, motels and camping areas, most prominently the Turgut.
About 4km further south-east is a small island bearing traces of a ruined Byzantine monastery, and just beyond this is Ceri'nin Yeri, a restaurant serving sea bass, eel, çarp and grey mullet which find their way into the lake to spawn. Ceri's has a few pension and motel rooms, and a camp site as well. Sometimes you can arrange a boat trip to Herakleia.
Herakleia/Kapıkırı (Latmos - herakleia salbace)
At the south-eastern end of the lake is a village called Çamiçi, from which a paved road on the left is marked for Kapıkırı, 10 km to the north, though it's actually less than 9km; watch carefully for the sign which is easily missed. Minibuses from Söke or Milas will drop you at the road junction but you'll have to hike or hitch along the side road unless you manage to catch one of the very infrequent dolmuşes. At the end of the wonderful, twisting, rock-dominated road, you'll come to the ruins of Herakleia ad Latmos in and around the village of Kapıkın. Behind the village looms the dramatic, fıve peaked Beşparmak Dağı, the Five-fıngered Mountain (1500m). This was the ancient Mt Latmos.
History Latmos is famous because of Endymion, the legendary shepherd boy. The story relates how the handsome Endymion was asleep on Mt Latmos when Selene, the moon goddess, fell in love with him. Myths differ as to what happened next.
it seems that Endymion slept forever, and Selene (also called Diana) got to come down and sleep with him every night. She also saw to the care of his flocks, while he slept on. And that's about it.
Ringed by mountains, this area was one of refuge for Christian hermits during the Arab invasions of the 8th century AD, hence the ruined churches and monasteries. The monks reputedly thought Endymion a Christian saint because they admired his powers of self-denial, though catatonia seems a more appropriate word.
Called Didim in Turkish, this was the site of a stupendous temple to Apollo, occupied by an oracle as important as the one at Delphi. The ruins you see today belong to a temple started in the late 4th century. This replaced the original temple, which was destroyed in 494 BC by the Persians, and a later construction which was completed under Alexander the Great.
The Temple of Apollo was never finished, though its oracle and priests were hard at work until, after 1400 years of soothsaying, Christianity became the state religion of the Byzantines and brought an end to pagan practices.
Ancient Didyma was never a real town. Only the priests who specialised in oracular temple management lived here. Originally from Delphi, they had a pretty cushy life, sitting on the considerable temple treasure.
When you approach Didyma today, you come into the town of Yen i hisar, which has grown phenomenally in the last few years to engulf both Altınkum, the beach to the south, and Didim, formerly the Ottoman-Greek town of Yeronda. It's a popular place with tour groups, and carpet shops gush forth touts at the approach of each new bus.
Temple of Apollon, Apollon Temple
Didyma Claros Apollon Temple
The temple porch held 120 riuge columns with richly carved bases vaguely reminiscent of Luxor in Egypt. Behind the porch is a great doonvay where oracular poems were written and presented to petitioners. Beyond the doonvay is the cella (court), where the oracle sat and prophesied after drinking from the sacred spring. We can only speculate on what that water contained to make the prophesies possible. The cella is reached today by covered ramps on both sides of the porch.
Didyma Hotels, Didyma House (Places to Stay & Eat)
There are two good pensions beside the temple. The 10 room Oracle Pension (256-811 0270) is perched above the temple precinct to the south, with close-up views of the marble pile.
Just around the corner from the temple, on the Altınkum road, Medusa House (256-813 4491) is a pretty restored stone village house with lovely gardens. Inviting rooms cost US$40 a double, breakfast included. Al-though it's only steps from the temple, it has no temple view and noise from the road could be annoying.
The vast restaurants across the road from the temple entrance are geared up for the tourist trade, with prices to match.
Altınkum Beach, Altinkum Loves
About 4km south of Didyma through the town of Yenihisar is Altınkum (Golden Sand) Beach, a resort visited mostly by Turkish families who patronise a typical assortment of restaurants, pensions and hotels rated from no stars to three stars. Most accommodation - and especially the cheapest - is booked solid in summer, and the sand is so strewn with cigarette butts that you hesitate to walk on it. At a pinch, go west from the access road and look at the pensions a block inland from the beach. A berter plan is to forget Altınkum unless you come during the low season.
If you start early in the morning from Kuşadası or Selçuk, you can get to Priene, Miletus and Didyma by dolmuş and return to your base at night. If you have a car, you can see ali three sites, have a swim and be back by mid-afternoon.
Priene and Miletus (Turkey)
Priene Athena, Grek Priene
Ephesus may be the creme-de-la-creme of the Aegean archaeological sites but south of Kuşadası are the ruins of three other very ancient and important settlements well worth a day trip. Priene occupies a dramatic position overlooking the plain of the River Menderes (formerly Meander); Miletus preserves a great theatre; and Didyma's Temple of Apollo is among the world's
most impressive religious structures. If you find the coach parties at Ephesus bothersome, you will enjoy exploring these less popular sites all the more. Beyond Didyma is Altınkum Beach, good for an after-ruins swim off season but usually festooned with cigarette butts.
Priene was important around 300 BC when the League of Ionian Cities held congresses and festivals here. Othenvise, it was smaller and less important than nearby Miletus, which means that its Hellenistic buildings were not buried by Roman buildings.
Priene was a planned town, with its streets laid out in a grid, a system which originated in Miletus. Of the buildings which remain, the bouleuterion (city council meeting place) is in very good condition. The five standing columns of the Temple of Athena, designed by Pythius of Halicarnassus and looked upon as the epitome of an Ionian temple, form Priene's most familiar land-mark; the view from here is superb. Take a look at the theatre with its finely carved front seats for VIPs, the ruins of a Byzantine church, the gymnasium and stadium.
Although the ruins are good there's a strong chance you'll remember Priene's magnificent setting the most, with steep Mt Mykale rising behind it, and the broad flood plain of the River Menderes spread out at its feet.
Priene is open from 8 am to 7.30 pm daily in summer (from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm in winter).
The well-signed Priene Pension (256-547 1725) offers pleasant pine-ceilinged rooms set around a rose and orange tree garden. A twin room with breakfast costs US$25, or you can camp for US$10.
Near the site entrance is a shady rest spot with water cascading from an old aqueduct next to the Şelale Restaurant, where you can get a cool drink or hot tea, make a telephone call or have a meal. A teahouse opposite competes fiercely with the Şelale for the drinks traffic. There are several smaller, cheaper restaurants as well.
Miletus Turkey (Thales Of Miletus)
Miletus is 22km south of Priene. Its Creat Theatre rises to greet you as you approach the flood plain's southern boundary and turn left (east), riding through swampy cotton fields to reach the site. It's the most significant reminder of a once-grand city, which was an important commercial and governmental centre from about 700 BC to 700 AD. After that time the harbour filled vvith silt, and Miletus' commerce dwindled. The 15,000-seat theatre was originally a Hellenistic building, but the Romans reconstructed it extensively during the 1st century. It's stili in good condition and exciting to explore.
Climb to the top of the theatre where the ramparts of a later Byzantine castle provide a viewing platform for several groups of ruins scattered around. Look left and you'll see what remains of the harbour, called Lion Bay for the stone statues of lions which guarded it. Look right and you'll see the stadium; the northern, vvestern and southern agoras; the vast Baths of Faustina, constructed on the order of Emperor Marcus Aurelius' wife; and a bouleuterion between the northern and southern agoras. Some of the site is underwater for much of the year and although that makes it hard to walk around, it also makes it even more picturesque. Note that the northern gateway to the southern agora is now one of the prized exhibits in Berlin's Pergamum Museum.
To the south of the main ruins is the İlyas Bey Camii (1404), dating from a period after the Seljuks but before the Ottomans when this region was ruled by the Turkish emirs of Menteşe. The doonvay and mihrab are well worth noticing, and you'll probably have this neglected corner of Miletus to yourself.
The site is open from 8 am to 7.30 pm in summer (to 5.30 pm in winter) The Milet Müzesi (Miletus Museum), about 1 km south of the theatre, is open from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm, and 1.30 to 5.30 pm and costs US$3, but it's hardly worth it. Across the road from the Great Theatre are a couple of small snack bars where you can get sandwiches and drinks.
A Seljuk caravanserai, 100 m south of the ticket booth, has been restored and converted to shops, although it's been unoccupied for so long one wonders whether any shop-keepers will ever move in now.
Kusadasi Hotel, Places to Stay - Mid-Range
Kusadasi Property, Hotels
Mid-range hotels are scattered throughout town, with some inland from the yacht marina, some on the pension streets of Aslanlar Caddesi and Bezirgan Sokak; and many more along Atatürk Bulvarı and İstiklal Sokak.
Cephane (JEHP-hah-neh) Sokak leads off Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi opposite the caravanserai. Bahar Pansiyon (256-614 1191, fax 614 9359, Cephane Sokak 12), used to be an excellent choice but nowadays its rooms look pretty mundane; the fans and roof terrace barely compensating for the leaky plumbing.
Walk up Aslanlar Caddesi to the right of the Akdeniz Apart-otel to find Hotel Sun Garden (256-614 3806, fax 614 4225, Aslanlar Caddesi 70-A), across from the AdaHotel.
breakfast included. in a previous incarna-tion this place was called the Hotel Flash -don't let anyone persuade you that the Flash was anywhere else.
Turn right onto Bezirgan Sokak to find the airy, two-star, 22 room Hotel Stella (256-614 1632, Bezirgan Sokak 44), with fabulous views of the town and the harbour. At the time of writing it was closed for renovation but bright, modern rooms used to be priced at US$75 a double with shower, breakfast included.
Facing the sea, just less than 1 km north of the caravanserai on Atatürk Bulvarı, are several convenient modem hotels offering comfortable rooms for moderate prices. The three-star Otel İlayda (256-614 3807, fax 614 6766) has 40 rooms with bath (and many with sea-view balconies) for US$40/60 a single/double. Otel Derici (256-614 8222, fax 614 8226), nearby at Atatürk Bulvarı 40, also has three stars, and 87 comfortable rooms (some with sea views) at rates of US$80 a double with breakfast. Right next door Atınç Otel (256-614 7608, fax 614 4967) charges US$90/110 for its rooms.
Continue along the seafront and, about 1 km north of the centre, you'll come to another group of moderately priced lodgings on istiklal Sokak. Hotel Köken (256-614 1460, fax 614 5723, Istikdal Sokak 5), is the Standard Turkish two-star: rooms with private bath cost US$24, breakfast included. Next door to the Köken is Yunus Pension, and beyond that the 20 room Çidem Pansiyon (chee-DEHM) (256-614 1895, İstiklal Sokak 9), a clean, cheerful place with single rooms for US$22 to US$26, doubles for US$28 to US$34. This was being renovated at the time of vvriting. When it re-opens the cheaper rooms may be gone.
The nearby two-star, Hotel Akman (256-614 1501, İstiklal Sokak 13), is tidy if soulless. It's open from mid-March to the end of October and used by tour groups. Rooms, some with bathtubs, cost US$35/50 a single/double, breakfast included.
Much of Kuşadası's nightlife is aimed at specific national groups. Barlar Sokak (not to be confused with Barhar Sokak) near the Akdeniz Apart-otel is choked with Olde English and Irish 'pubs', and Deutsches 'bierstuben'. The quieter, classier bars are in Kaleiçi's narrow streets. Wander around to find Back Street Bar, Be Bop Cafe Bar, Orient and other places, bearing in mind that names change with surprising rapidity. Most offer dusky courtyards, comfy uphol-stered seats/benches, drinks, conversation and hip music.
Out on Güvercin Adası, the fort is usually let to disco organisers. Even if the latest incarnation is not to your liking, the walk out to the island and back is pleasant. This is certainly the place to come for a sunset rakı or two.
If you're into organised entertainment, Hotel Kervansaray plays hoşt to a Turkish night most evenings during summer. To watch the music and dancing without eating costs US$40; with a meal you're looking at US$60
Things to Buy
Kuşadası's bazaar offers the full range of Turkish souvenirs: onyx, meerschaum, leather clothing and accessories, copper, brass, carpets and jewellery. If you're heading on, save your shopping for later as almost anywhere else will be cheaper. If you must shop here, do it before or after the cruise ships are in port, as prices are higher then and dealers are ruder.
Kusadasi Beaches, Kusadasi Turkey
You can swim from the rocky shores of Güvercin Adası and its causeway, but Yılancı Burnu, the peninsula less than 1 km to the south, is more enticing. Alternatively, catch the Şehiriçi (in-town) dolmuş to the northern beach near the yacht marina or further north, past the Kuştur holiday village, to the beach opposite the Tur-Yat Mocamp.
Kuşadası's most famous beach is Kadınlar Denizi (Ladies Beach), 2.5km south of town and served by dolmuş minibuses running along the shore road. Kadınlar Denizi is a small beach crowded by big hotels and woefully inadequate for the crowds in high summer, when the hotel pool is often more inviting. The coast south of Kadınlar Denizi has several more small beaches, each backed by ranks of big hotels.
There's also Pamucak (see the Pamucak section earlier in this chapter), 15km to the north. Most of the year you can get there on a dolmuş running betvveen Kuşadası and Selçuk; at other times you may have to change to a Pamucak dolmuş in Selçuk, or get out at the Pamucak road and walk 3 km.
Kuşadası's hamams are of the un-Turkish New Age type, allowing men and women to bathe at the same time, and charging an out-rageous US$20 for the full works.
The Belediye Hamamı (256-614 1219) is up the hill behind the Akdeniz Apart-otel; take the street which goes along the left side of the hotel. it's open from 9 am to 9 pm. The Kaleiçi Hamamı (256-614 1292), just west of the Öküz Mehmet Paşa Camii, is open from 7 am to 10 pm.
North of the centre about 1 km, inland from the yacht marina, are three decent camping areas. Best is Önder Camping (256-614 2413, fax 614 2946), open all year, with lots of facilities: tennis, swimming pool, laundry and a good restaurant (open from March to October only). If the Önder is full, the adjoining Yat Camping (256-614 1333) takes the overflow.
The larger Tur-Yat Mocamp (256-614 1087), several kilometres north of these on the shore, is open from mid-April or late May until mid to late October. Across the road from a small beach, it charges US$8 for two people in a tent. break fast and dinner included. There are a few restaurants and a fuel station close by.
Kuşadası Turkey, Kusadasi Hotel and Property
About 20km from Selçuk is Kuşadası (koo-SHAH-dah-suh), a seaside resort town with a resident population of 50,000. Like Marmaris it's swollen out of all recognition throughout the summer with package holidaymakers from Europe.
Many cruise ships on the Aegean Islands circuit stop at Kuşadası so passengers can tour Ephesus and haggle for trinkets in the bazaar. The town centre is all shops and işportacılar (itinerant pedlars and touts ready to sell you anything and everything). The pleasant, easy-going atmosphere which made it popular in the 1970s is long gone, even though a few businesses stili hang on to serve the farmers, beekeepers and fishermen who make up an ever-dwindling portion of the population.
Kuşadası gets its name (Bird Island) from a small island now connected to the main-land by a causeway, called Güvercinada, or Güvercin Adası (Pigeon Island). it's recognizable by the small stone fort which is its most prominent feature.
Like Selçuk, Kuşadası makes a good base for excursions to the ancient cities of Ephesus, Priene, Miletus, and Didyma, to Altınkum Beach and Dilek National Park, and even inland to Afrodisias and Pamukkale.
The natural port here may have been in use several centuries BC, and was probably known to the Byzantines, but modern Kuşadası's history begins in medieval times when Venetian and Genoese traders came here, calling it Scala Nuova. Two centuries after the Ottoman conquest in 1413, Öküz Mehmet Paşa, vizier and sometime grand vizier to sultans Ahmet I and Osman II, ordered the building of the Kaleiçi mosque and hamam, the city walls, and the caravan-serai in order to improve the city's prospects as a trading port with Europe and Africa.
Useful for exporting agricultural goods, Kuşadası was also an important defensive port along the Ottoman Aegean coast. in 1834 the Güvercinada fortress was restored and improved. Kuşadası maintained its modest trade, farming and fıshing economy and its quiet character until the tourism boom of the late 1980s turned it into the brash resort you see today.
Kuşadası's central landmark is the Öküz Mehmet Paşa Kervansarayı, an Ottoman caravanserai which is now a hotel. it's 100 m inland from the cruise-ship docks, at the intersection of the waterfront boulevard, Atatürk Bulvarı, and the togn's main street, the pedestrianised Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi which cuts inland from the caravanserai. Just beyond the PTT on the northern side of Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi, a passage leads to the Öküz Mehmet Paşa Camii and the Kaleiçi Hamamı. Further along at the stone tower, Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi crosses Sağlık Caddesi and becomes Kahramanlar Caddesi, lined with shops and restaurants. Turn left onto Sağlık Caddesi to explore Kuşadası's market and the old Kaleiçi neighbourhood of narrow streets packed with restaurants and bars. Turn right off Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi to find raucous Barlar Sokak (Bars Street), and the hillside pensions overlooking the harbour.
The Hacı Hatice Hanım Camii (Hanım Camii for short) about 100m along Kahramanlar Caddesi makes a convenient landmark. The otogar and dolmuş station is more than 1 km east of the caravanserai on the bypass road.
Information in Kusadasi
The Tourism Information Office (256-614 1103, fax 614 6295), on İskele Meydanı, is right near the wharf where the cruise ships dock, located about 100 m west of the caravanserai. This office is usually open from 8 am to noon and from 1.30 to 5.30 pm but keeps longer hours in summer.
Banks with ATMs are on Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi (Akbank, Garanti, Yapı Kredi and Ziraat). The PTT on Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi near the caravanserai changes money as well.
The postal code is 09400
Up in the hills 9km east of Selçuk, amid grapevines, peach and apple orchards, sits Şirince (population 800). The old-fashioned stone-and-stucco houses have red-tile roofs, and the villagers, who were moved here from Salonica and its vicinity during the exchange of populations in 1924, are ardent fruit farmers who also make interesting grape and apple wines. Locals regale you with the story that in Ottoman times, when it was populated mostly by Greeks, the village was called Çirkince ('ugliness'), but that it was changed to Şirince ('pleasant-ness') shortly after they arrived. A century ago it was also much larger and more prosperous - the economic focus for seven monasteries in the hills around.
Stroll the winding cobbled streets, peek at the Byzantine churches and monasteries, walk in the hills, and haggle with local women for handmade lace. If someone invites you to inspect her 'antique house', you can be sure she'll have lace for sale. Mostly the invitations are genuine, although one reader complained of being charged an outrageous amount for a 'welcoming' glass of tea.
Places to Stay & Eat
Of the several pensions, the welcoming Esra (232-898 3140) has fıve simple, waterless rooms; the best of them upstairs. Beds costs US$10 per person, with another US$5 for breakfast. Others are nameless, but similar to Mrs Naciye Çatal's Şirin Pansiyon (232-898 3167), offering clean beds in waterless rooms for US$15 a double.
Fancier places in restored village houses include the German-run Erdem Pansion (232-898 3430; in İzmir 481 4928) and the picturesque Hotel Şirince Evleri (fax 232-898 3099 in İzmir), with a lovely traditional sitting room and nicely decorated rooms for US$60 a single/double. The Erdem was under renovation at the time of writing.
The minibus from Selçuk drops you at the centre of the village near the restaurants. Köy Restaurant and Sultan Han Cafe have the best shade and views, and specialise in village dishes like mantı (Turkish ravioli), gözleme (thin pastry folded over a filling), yayık ayran (churned yoğurt and spring water) and ev şarabı (homemade wine).
Getting There & Away
From 8 am to 7 pm hourly minibuses connect Selçuk and Şirince (US$1) in summer.
Walking Tour Ephesus
As you walk into the site from Dr Sabri Yayla Bulvarı, a road to the left is marked for the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, on the north-eastern side of Panayır Dağı about 1 km away.
Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
According to legend, seven persecuted Christian youths fled from Ephesus in the 3rd century AD and took refuge in this cave. Agents of the Emperor Decius, a terror to Christians, found the cave and sealed it. Two centuries later an earthquake broke down the wall, awakening others describe as a private house. Either way, its main hall contains a rich mosaic of the Four Seasons.
The Sacred Way ends at the Embolos, or 'central Ephesus', with the Library of Celsus and the monumental Gate of Augustus to the right (west), and Curetes Way heading east up the slope.
As you head up Curetes Way, a passage on the left (north) leads to the public
toilets. These posh premises were for men only; the women's were elsewhere. The famous figüre of Priapus (now in the Ephesus Museum in Selçuk) with the penis of most men's dreams was found in the nearby well, right next to the presumed brothel.
You can't miss the impressive Corinthian-style Temple of Hadrian, on the left, with beautiful friezes in the porch and a head of Medusa to keep out evil spirits. it was dedicated to Hadrian, Artemis and the people of Ephesus in 118 AD, but greatly reconstructed in the 5th century. Across the street is a row of 10 shops from the same period, fronted by an elaborate 5th century mosaic.
On the right side of Curetes Way across from the Temple of Hadrian, excavation and restoration work is stili in progress on the Yamaç Evleri (terrace houses). These are usually closed to visitors although some of the finds can be seen in Ephesus Museum. Should you get the opportunity, be sure to see the rare glass mosaic in a niche off the atrium of one of the houses.
Further along Curetes Way, on the left, is the Fountain of Trajan. A huge statue of the emperor (98-117) used to tower above the pool; only one foot now remains.
Curetes Way ends at the two-storey Gate of Hercules, constructed in the 4th century AD, with reliefs of Hercules on both main pillars.
The road comes over a low rise and descends to the car park, where there are teahouses, restaurants, souvenir shops, a PTT and banks. To the right (west) of the road are the ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary, also called the Double Church. The original building was a museum - a Hall of the Muses - a place for lectures, teaching and educated discussions and debates. Destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in the 4th century AD as a church, later to become the site of the third Ecumenical Council (431 AD) which condemned the Nestorian heresy. Over the centuries several other churches were built here, somewhat obscuring the original layout.
Roman Civilization and Architecture
Roman Ephesus boasted that it was the 'first and greatest metropolis of Asia', with a population nearing 250,000. it became the Roman capital of Asia Minor, honoured and beautified by succeeding emperors. With its brisk sea traffic, rich commerce and right of sanctuary in the Temple of Artemis, it drew many immigrants of various nations and creeds. it's said that St John came here with the Virgin Mary, followed by St Paul, whose Letter to the Ephesians was written to people he had known during his three-year stay.
its prosperity from commerce and temple pilgrimage was unrivalled, but the Cayster continued to bring silt down into the harbour. Despite great works by Attalus II of Pergamum, who rebuilt the harbour, and Nero's proconsul, who dredged it, the silting continued. Emperor Hadrian had the Cayster diverted, but the harbour continued to silt up, ultimately pushing the sea back to Pamucak, 4km to the west. Cut off from its commerce, Ephesus lost its wealth. By the 6th century AD, when the Emperor Justinian was looking for a site for the St John Basilica, he chose Ayasoluk Hill in Selçuk, which became the new city centre.
Demetrius The Silversmith
St Paul iıved at Ephesus for three years, perhaps in the 60s AD. According to the Bible (Acts 1924-41), his mission was so successful that the trade in religious artefacts for the Artemis cult dropped off precipitously.
Hurt by the slump, a silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver Artemis shrines, gathered a group of other artisans who had lost business. At first they grumbled about the effects of Paul's preaching on their incomes, but they soon sought a higher rationale and blamed Paul's preaching for a loss of respect for the goddess herself.
Rumours spread throughout the city that someone was being disrespectful of Artemis. People flooded into the Great Theatre, svveeping along several of Paul's Christian travelling companions. Paul, set on entering the theatre (perhaps to give the sermon of his life to a packed house), was dissuaded from doing so by his disciples.
Unclear on the cause of the uproar, the mob in the theatre shouted 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians' for an hour before the secretary of the city council calmed them down enough to speak. The Christians, having broken no law, were released and the uproar subsided, but Paul left Ephesus shortly thereafter for Macedonia.
Croesus & The Persians
Ephesus prospered so much that it aroused the envy of King Croesus of Lydia, who attacked it around 600 BC. The Ephesians, who neglected to build defensive walls, stretched a rope from the temple of Artemis to the town, a distance of 1200m, hoping thus to place themselves under the protection of the goddess. Croesus responded to this quaint defensive measure by giving some of his famous wealth for the completion of the temple, which was still under construction. But he destroyed the city of Ephesus and relocated its citizens inland to the southern side of the temple, where they rebuilt and lived through classical times.
Neglecting again (or perhaps forbidden) to build walls, the Ephesians were tributaries of Croesus Lydia and, later, of the Persians. They then joined the Athenian confederacy, but later fell back under Persian control.
Legend has it that the Virgin Mary, accompanied by St John, came to Ephesus at the end of her life, circa 37-45 AD. Re-naissance church historians mentioned the trip, and it is said that local Christians ven-erated a small house near Ephesus as Mary's.
İn the 19th century a German woman named Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) had visions of Mary and of her surroundings at Ephesus. When Lazarist clergy from İzmir followed Emmerich's detailed descriptions, they discovered the foundations of an old house in the hills near Ephesus; a tomb, also described by Emmerich, was not found.
İn 1967 Pope Paul VI visited the site, where a chapel now stands, and confirmed the authenticity of the legend. A small traditional service, celebrated by Orthodox and Muslim clergy on 15 August each year in honour of Mary's Assumption into heaven, is now the major event here. To Muslims, Mary is Meryemana, Mother Mary, who bore Isa Peygamber, the Prophet Jesus.
The site is now a Selçuk municipal park; there is no regular dolmuş service, so you'll have to hitch, rent a taxi or take a tour. The park is 7km from Ephesus' Lower (northern) Gate, or 5.5 km from the Upper (southem) Gate, and 9km from Selçuk, up steep grades. The views of Ephesus, Selçuk, Ayasoluk Hill, and the surrounding countryside are wonderful along the way
Along the approach to the house are signboards explaining its significance in various languages. The house is usually busy with pilgrims, the devout and the curious. A small restaurant and snack stand provide meals at relatively moderate prices. If you are travelling on a tight budget, bring along some picnic supplies and enjoy lunch on your own in the shady park.
Ephesus Turkey, Ephesus Tour and Hotel
Ephesus is the best-preserved classical city on the eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world to get a feel for what life was like in Roman times. Needless to say, it's a major tourist destination.
Ancient Ephesus was a great trading and religious city, a centre for the cult of Cybele, the Anatolian fertility goddess. Under the influence of the Ionians, Cybele became Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon, and a fabulous temple was built in her honour. When the Romans took over and made this the province of Asia, Artemis became Diana and Ephesus became the Roman provincial capital. Its Temple of Diana was counted among the Seven Wonders of the World.
As a large and busy Roman town with ships and caravans coming from all over, it quickly acquired a sizeable Christian congregation. St Paul visited Ephesus and later wrote the most profound of his epistles to the Ephesians.
Ephesus was renovvned for its wealth and beauty even before it was pillaged by Gothic invaders in 262 AD, and it was stili an important enough place in 431 AD for a church council to be held there. Much of the city remains for you to see.
in high summer it gets very hot here. it's best to start your tramping early in the morning, then retire to a shady restaurant for lunch at the peak of the heat. Unfortunately this is what the coach parties also do; lunch time is when you're most likely to avoid the bedlam of tour groups.
If your interest in ancient ruins is slight, half a day may suffice, but real ruins buffs will want to continue their explorations in the afternoon. Take a water bottle as drinks at the site are more expensive.
it's 3km from the Tourism Information Office in Selçuk to the admission gate at Ephesus, a pleasant 30 to 45-minute walk along a shady İane at the side of the highway. The lane, actually the old road, is named after Doktor Sabri Yayla, who had the foresight to plant the trees earlier in the century.
History in Ephesus, Ephesus Photo, Ephesus Visit
According to a legend related by Athenaeus, Androclus, son of King Codrus of Athens, consulted an oracle about where he should found a settlement in Ionia. The oracle answered, in typically cryptic style, 'choose the site indicated by the fish and the boar.
Androclus sat down with some fıshermen near the mouth of the Cayster River and Panayır Dağı (Mt Pion), the hill into which Ephesus Great Theatre was later built. As they grilled some fısh for lunch, one of the fısh leapt out of the brazier, taking with it a hot coal which ignited some shavings, which in turn ignited the nearby brush. A wild boar hiding in the brush ran in alarm from the fire; the spot at which it was killed by the fıshermen became the site of Ephesus' temple of Athena.
For many years thereafter the wild boar was a symbol of the city. Until the 1970s it was stili common to see wild pigs in scrub thickets near Ephesus
in ancient times the sea came much further inland, almost as far as present-day Selçuk, even lapping at the feet of Panayır Dağı. The fırst settlement, of which virtually nothing remains, was built on the hill's northern slope, and was a prosperous city by about 600 BC. The nearby sanctuary of Cybele/Artemis (Anatolian mother goddess) had been a place of pilgrimage since at least 800 BC and may - let's face it - have had more to do with the selection of the site than the fish and the pig.
Don't miss Selçuk's beautiful museum, across from the Tourism Information Office. The collection is signifıcant, and its statuary, mosaics and artefacts are attractively displayed. Highlights include the small, bronze figure of the Boy on a Dolphin in the fırst room; the marble statues of Cybele/Artemis with rows of egg-like breasts representing fertility; several effigies of Priapus, the phallic god; and pieces from a gigantic statue of the emperor Domitian. Beyond the courtyard is the ethnographic section set up in an arasta (row of shops) concentrating on traditional Turkish and Ottoman life with tools, costumes and a topuk ev (tent-like dwelling) used by Turkic nomads.
it's open from 8.30 am to noon and 1 to 5 pm for US$3.50 (half price for students; free for those over 65). You'll probably appreci-ate it most if you visit the site at Ephesus first.
Meryemana (Mary's House, Mary's Dolls House)
Since at least the Renaissance, some people have believed that the Virgin Mary came to Ephesus with St John at the end of her life (37-45 AD), in the 19th century Catherine Emmerich of Germany had visions of Mary at Ephesus. Using her descriptions, clergy from izmir discovered the foundations of an old house in the hills near Ephesus, later verifıed by Pope Paul VI on a visit to the site in 1967. A small traditional service is held in the chapel on the site every 15 August to honour Mary's Assumption into heaven. To Muslims, Mary is Meryemana, Mother Mary, who bore Isa Peygamber, the Prophet Jesus.
The site is 7km from Ephesus Lower (northern) Gate and 5.5km from the Upper (southern) Gate. it's 9km from Selçuk itself, up a steep hill. There's no dolmuş service so you'11 have to hitch, rent a taxi or take a tour. it costs another US$2 to get into the site which is mobbed by coach parties. Unless the house has special meaning for you, you might prefer to save your money for something less commercialised.
Selçuk has some tombs and a little mosque dating from the Seljuk period just south of the otogar. On Namık Kemal Caddesi are the remains of a Byzantine aqueduct, now a favourite nesting place for leylekler (storks).
Eggs are laid in late April or May, and the storks are there right into September.
The Ephesus Festival, held at varying times in the year, brings world-class performers to the Great Theatre at Ephesus and other venues. From mid-June to mid-July, performances of music and dance are organised under the rubric of the International izmir Festival and there are some performances at Ephesus.
The most promising new-comer to the Selçuk pension scene is the five-storey Ali Blacks (fax 232-892 3657, 1011 Sokak 1), overlooking the aqueduct with the storks nests and close to the train station. Run by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Hamdullah Akın (Jesse) and Mehmet Nazlı (Jeff), it has a good rooftop terrace and the advantage of bathrooms for every room, although there's no lift.
Pension Karahan (232-892 2575, Siegburg Caddesi 11), has received several recommendations from readers. There are 12 simple rooms here, but they're in the heart of the action and could be noisy in summer.
Another newcomer is Artemis Guest House (232-892 6191, 1012 Sokak 2), otherwise known as Jimmy's Place. Clean, simple rooms are supplemented by a large lounge with TV-video player and a rear courtyard with murals.
Close to the market, Ms Seval Demirel-Molenaar runs the popular Vardar Pension (232-891 4967, fax 891 4099, Sahabettin Dede Caddesi 9), with 16 small, clean rooms, most with bath, and a nice dining terrace where breakfast and dinner are served. Seval Hanım speaks some Dutch, English, French, German and Japanese, and stresses that she does not employ touts at the bus station, though she herself sometimes meets buses.
Readers have also recommended Pamukkale Family Pension (232-892 2388, 14 Mayıs Mahellesi, Sedir Sokak 1), run by Mehmet Irdem whose hospitality has been described as 'awe inspiring'. His wife's cooking also comes in for high praise.
Camping (Seljuks Turkey)
On the western side of Ayasoluk Hill 200m beyond the Isa Bey Camii, Garden Motel & Camping (232-892 6165, fax 892 2997) offers grassy pitches in the shade of aspen trees. There are also some pension rooms with a few dorm beds for US$5 per person. Carpets are made here for export to Italy, so you get the chance to see the dying and weaving in progress without pressure to buy. There's also camping at Pamucak (see the Pamucak section later in this chapter).
Entertainment in Seljuks
Sipping drinks and talking are the main evening entertainments in Selçuk. Besides the restaurants on Cengiz Topel Caddesi, you'll find Ekselans Bar on Siegburg Caddesi with outdoor tables and, next to it, the currently more popular Pink Bistro Bar.
Cheers is also popular but a quick stroll around town should point out this season's place to be.
The Selçuk Hamamı is north of the police station. Traditionally, women bathe on Friday, but, this being a tourist area, they can actually show up at any time and be allowed in. it stays open until midnight.
SELJUKS (SELÇUK) - Anatolian Seljuk
Once a modest farming town with a sideline in tourism, Selçuk has been transformed by the tourism boom of the 1990s. Tourism is now the driving force in the local economy, though the lush fields of cotton and tobacco and the orchards of apples and figs surrounding the ever-growing town attest to the continuing efforts of the farmers.
Ayasoluk Hill, with its castle, is north-west of the centre. Cengiz Topel Caddesi, the pedestrian way which is the heart of the commercial and tourist district, runs from an elaborate round fountain at the intersection with the main road to the train station. A few hundred metres south of the fountain on the main road is the otogar. On the west side of the main road is a shady park, and west of it is the famous Ephesus Museum. On the southern side of the park is the Tourism information Office. Selçuk's postal code is 35920.
The Seljuk Information - Tourist Office
Selçuk's Tourism Information Office (232-892 1328, fax 892 1945) is at Efes Müzesi Karşısı 23, across the main İzmir-Bodrum highway from the otogar.
The PTT on Cengiz Topel Caddesi is open 24 hours every day, and will change cash, travellers cheques or Eurocheques. Ziraat Bankası has an offıce with ATM on Cengiz Topel Caddesi; iş Bankası and Akbank have ATMs on Namık Kemal Caddesi, a block north. There are foreign ex-change offices along Cengiz Topel Caddesi as well.
If you park a car near the Tourism information Office, Ephesus Museum, St John Basilica or a few other touristy places in Selçuk, you may be approached by a man wanting to collect a parking fee of up to US$1.50. Although the charge is official, ask for a bilet (ticket) or makbuz (receipt) to make sure the cash is going into the right pockets. Alternatively, move your car and park a few blocks away for free.
Before going to Ephesus, take an hour or two to visit the ancient buildings in Selçuk. The best place to start is the St John Basilica on top of the hill; look for signs pointing the way to St Jean.
it is said that St John came to Ephesus at the end of his life and wrote his Gospel here. A tomb built in the 4th century was thought to be his, so Justinian erected this magnificent church above it in the 6th century. Earthquakes and scavengers for building materials had left the church a heap of rubble until a century ago when restoration began; virtually all of what you see now is restored. The church site is open every day from 8 am to 5.30 pm (later in summer) for US$2.50. Parking at the entrance costs almost as much, so if you have a car, park a block or two away.
This hill, including the higher peak with the fortress, is called Ayasoluk and it offers an attractive view. Look west: at the foot of the hill is the Isa Bey Camii, built in 1375 by the Emir of Aydın in a transitional style which was post-Seljuk and pre-Ottoman. Keep a picture of it in your mind if you plan to venture deep into Anatolia for a look at more Seljuk buildings. There's a bust of Isa Bey more or less opposite.
Beyond the mosque you can see how the Aegean Sea once invaded this plain, allowing Ephesus to prosper from maritime commerce. When the harbour silted up, Ephesus began to lose its famous wealth.
The hilltop citadel to the north of St John Basilica was originally constructed by the Byzantines in the 6th century, rebuilt by the Seljuks and restored in modern times. A Seljuk mosque and a ruined church are inside.
Early in the town's existence it earned money from pilgrims paying homage to Cybele or Artemis. The many-breasted Anatolian fertility goddess had a fabulous temple, the Artemision, to the south-west of the St John Basilica. A sign on the road to Ephesus marks the spot today, and you can see a re-erected column and the outline of the foundation. When you visit the huge temple at Didyma you get an idea of what this great temple must once have looked like, as Didyma's is thought to have been similar. If you walk to Ephesus you can take in the Artemision on the way.